Australian yellowtail kingfish producer Clean Seas Seafood continued to see its diversification strategy pay dividends in the third quarter of its 2022 financial year, posting record sales and reduced production costs.

The three months to March 31 continues a streak of record quarters for Clean Seas, the largest farmed kingfish producer outside of Japan. The company reported revenue of AUD17.6 million (€12.1 million/$13.1 million), driven by strong global demand for kingfish and increased prices.

It marks a 38 percent increase year to date to AUD48.8 million (€33.5 million/$36.2 million), with revenue per kilo increasing to AUD16.97 (€11.64/$12.60).

The improvement in pricing reflects the completion of the sale of discounted frozen inventory that built over the pandemic and the return to premium sales channels.

The harvest of the final cohort of high-cost, surplus Year Class 20 biomass also continued in the quarter, and the company is observing continued month-on-month reductions in the cost of production.

With this, Clean Seas expects the cost of production for its full 2022 financial year to be within a range of AUD12.00 - AUD12.75 (€8.23/$8.91-€8.74/$9.47) per kilo, remaining on track to achieve its target of AUD 9.00 - AUD 9.50 (€6.17/$6.68-€6.51/$7.06) per kilo cost of production in the 2023 financial year.

“Clean Seas has continued to benefit from the growing awareness and acceptance of yellowtail kingfish globally, reporting record sales volumes and revenues," said Clean Seas CEO Rob Gratton.

"With further progress optimizing working capital we continue to see a reduction in our cost of production, delivering on our goal of becoming the lowest-cost producer of kingfish in the world, whilst retaining our quality, sustainability and provenance leadership positions."

The laser focus of Clean Seas on fresh, sashimi-grade product for white tablecloth European restaurants brought the company to its knees when COVID-19 turned forced the shutdown of much of the world's restaurant sector.

But today, Clean Seas is not just a supplier to the high-end restaurant sector, but to a new audience of retail customers, with a substantial contract with retailer Woolworths, and a breakthrough into a new line of value-added and frozen products.

This diversification had always been on the agenda, CEO Rob Gratton told IntraFish in January, but it took on a new urgency when the pandemic struck.

"When the world changes in one week, these things take on new focus," said Gratton, who took the wheel at Clean Seas from then-CEO David Head as sales plummeted, inventory built and cash flow slowed.

Clean Seas is a fully integrated producer listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, with a secondary listing on Euronext Growth Oslo.

The company is headquartered at its processing facility in Royal Park in Adelaide, South Australia, while its hatchery is at Arno Bay and its fish farms are at Port Lincoln, Arno Bay and Fitzgerald Bay on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia.